Is The Piano Or Guitar Easier To Learn For Beginners?

Since I am a pianist there will definitely be a little bias here. However, I want to answer and break this down as truthfully as I can as I find this to be a fun and interesting subject.

I get asked this question all of the time since I’ve been playing in a band for the last 10 years. The more I get I asked, the more I ponder the answer myself. There are a couple main things here that are easier and harder for each instrument.

It is my opinion that learning the piano as your first instrument is easier than learning the guitar in the beginning. I believe it is easier because to make noise, all you have to do is press a key and it will sound good. With the guitar, the student has to learn how to press the strings hard enough without hitting other strings in the process. To me, this is what makes the guitar a little bit harder at first. As you continue your studies, I believe the piano becomes more difficult though.

I recently spoke in great detail about the difficulty of learning the piano in full detail here.

Piano Vs The Guitar

One Hand VS Two Hands

When a student starts to learn the piano, they will most likely be taught one hand at a time. You can’t really do this with a guitar because you need to use both hands in order to play chords or notes that aren’t just open. For younger students, the piano is easier because they can start to learn songs pretty quickly.  With guitar, you need to get your fingers strong enough before you can begin to play songs.

This is discouraging to kids and even adults because it is human nature to want to be able to as much as you can as fast as you can.


You don’t have to worry about tuning a keyboard or a piano. With the guitar, you have to learn how to master this quickly, unless you want to wait until your once a week lesson. This is another thing that makes it just a little bit harder to play the guitar.

Kids like to be able to just sit at their instrument and not have to worry about tuning it before they can play it. It almost acts as one more obstacle for the musician.

Reading Music

I believe it is harder to read music than it is to read tabs. Most piano instructors will provide a very solid foundation when it comes to this whereas guitar instructors won’t usually focus on this as much. This is where learning the piano becomes harder in my opinion.

The instant gratification of hearing a noise makes piano initially easier, but as you go further in your studies, I believe the piano becomes more complex. Playing crazy different rhythms with each hander is no easy task and it becomes a huge obstacle that ultimately breaks a lot of pianists.

A lot of the more difficult classical or jazz pieces require the pianist to split their brain and understand different rhythms. You don’t really need to do this on the guitar as you’re not playing notes with both hands really.

Should I Start My Child With Guitar Or Piano?

I believe that you should start them with the piano at first. Get them excited and into music in the beginning. The piano is also arguably the best base to have to learn other instruments because you learn music theory with it. I am amazed by how many guitarists or drummers that don’t really have any music theory knowledge.

When you play in bands you will want to find people with a music theory background because they ultimately understand music more fully. When I was younger, a lot of guitar players I knew had no idea what chords they were playing or how to figure them out. I would say, “hey this chord progression is,” and they would have no idea how to play it.

With piano, you’re forced to know what you are playing and what notes make them up. Guitarists won’t always know what notes are in a certain chord or what singular notes they are playing since they have a full fretboard.

Acoustic VS Electric

Acoustic guitars definitely have the reputation for being a little bit more difficult to play than electric as the strings can be harder to hold down. With this being said, beginner acoustic guitars are usually similar to the price of electric guitars, so price shouldn’t be much of a concern.

Which Is Harder To Learn Between Piano & Guitar?

I believe that the guitar is harder to learn as a beginner. The guitar requires you to build up calluses for chords and this usually takes some time.

Here are my favorite digital pianos for beginners in 2023. 

What are your thoughts on piano vs guitar? Do you have experience that you can share with either instrument? Let me know below!

1 comment
  1. I’m a 60yr old, I did start learning the guitar when I was in middle school. learned a few songs and so on and I recently found out about tabs and it does make life easier. As far as the piano, well, when I was in that same middle school, I picked the guitar instead of the piano because I was 13yrs old and boys at the time at that age are cruel to other boys who wanted to learn piano. I argued with the teacher that taught me guitar, since he also taught piano. I didn’t know what to tell him as to why I didn’t want to learn piano but I’m pretty sure he know what was happening, lol. In any case he was very nice and taught me a few things on the piano on that same day and gave me a “C” for trying. I think I deserved an “F” for being stupid, then again like most 13yrs old, lol. Now as an adult, I crave to learn the piano, I’m so sorry that I didn’t learn it in middle school. I do have a keyboard but the sound is not the same. I still play it and since I can actually sing I can say I do play by ear, lol. I put stickers on the keys to show me where the notes are but it’s just not enough I still crave to learn, suits me right for being immature about it as a kid.

    What to know is what books should I get on Amazon for beginner? I hear the piano everyday and it truly does call to me in an almost hypnotic way. It’s the most beautiful sound I’ve every heard, so what books? Thanks for your help ahead of your response.

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